Modern Technology: Robots in My Pool & The Internet of ‘Things’
The pace of technology hasn’t really been Jetson’s level for the last decade, but our applications of such are finally turning some heads. Where just 5 years ago Smart Phones were still a business thing, they now dominate much of the internet browsing market. That’s an understatement though, they dominate much of our lives now. Run an experiment, the next time you’re at t red light, waiting for traffic to start again, see how many people in the cars next to you are looking at smart phones — it’s most of them! The technology isn’t fundamentally any different than it was even a decade ago almost. There’s a screen, there’s a signal, and there’s interaction yet, there’s so much more there now.
Pool Cleaning Robots & The Roomba
So forgive the references to the Jetson’s, but that’s kind of how my generation gauged what the future would hold for us. Rosie, the family robot maid, was a quirky, lovable addition to the futuristic family. She cooked, cleaned, and even kept Ellroy in line! Today, we’ve not any consumer-level AI capable of interweaving with our families but there are some companies taking care of the chores. I recently had the pleasure of giving a friends Dolphin Premier robotic pool cleaner a whirl — and was blown away. These types of devices were invented in the late 70’s, but were a burden of electricity. Really expensive commercial pool vacuums have been utilized by local pool cleaning services but are prohibitively expensive for you and me. In the last 5 or so years however, companies like Dolphin and Maytronics (technically the same company) have really started to wow. These types of pool cleaner robots integrate with smart phones, can crawl around on the sides of pools, and often cost as little as 15 cents to run! It’s like a Roomba for your pool, but with more features!
Eloquence of Refinement
Few people actually give a sh*t about pool cleaners, but they are a great illustration of where tech is. They’re affordable, a super-niche consumer good, and they’re still deeply integrated with smart devices. This type of organization and market-spanning connectedness is the seed of the Internet of Things. Right now, all our devices are speaking a similar language but they’re all divided among the applications. You iPhones’ browsing history isn’t available to your car’s XM radio yet — so you hear the same song. VC money has been pouring into tech companies relentlessly, and edgy new apps are a dime a dozen. Right now the tech landscape is a minefield of different people doing different things.
There’s Android and iOs to keep things somewhat ordered, but there’s still little translation between different types of data. An example of how this might refine itself eventually would be the adoption of a universal object-based data language to represent certain facets of technology. Imagine all devices having a registered ‘footprint’ within the framework of a universal data identifier. Like a bar code, this ID would let everyone else know that it’s a book, has an author, but doesn’t have an entry for Voltage type. Not dissimilar from eCommerce tagging and categorizing — it’d just be adopted industry wide. Imagine before you filed for a patent having to file for the acceptance of a new entry into the data profile identification system.
If your product were to contribute something entirely new to the world, it’d need a new ‘category’ to store that data. Now, if everyone were to be using this new digital ID as a handshake, different apps would be able to access relevant data without APIs or otherwise translating protocols. It’d be creepy knowing that An elevator might be able to start playing the next track on your Pandora list because your smart phone’s Universal ID had a ‘last played’ entry. The best pool cleaning robots would now be able to tell you that nasty little blotchy spot on the bottom was actually $45 worth of your favorite tequila!